Graphics Card Overclocking: Is It Really Worth It?

By Julio Franco · 66 replies
Jan 26, 2012
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  1. Here's what overclocked 7970 can do:

    This is my own little test i did a while ago
  2. ^^ ok the image didn't show up show here's the link:

    Game tested: Crysis, 2560x1600p, 4xAA, Maximum Settings
  3. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    I learned my lesson buying my 295's from MSI. I now only buy evga, great company, decent support. nuff said. My second 580 wouldn't oc as well as the first one I purchased. I rma'd it no problem, second one is kicking hard just like its counterpart. 1.150 volts, 1ghz
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    I'll second that. My GTX 580's are EVGA also. Very rare to to see a company put the time and effort into customer service and the enthusiast userbase that EVGA do. Many a time I've had what amounts to realtime troubleshooting help from Jacob and Co on their forums. Having the company step up to the plate on custom BIOS's and workarounds when XFX, BFG, and Nvidia themselves showed little interest with (noteably Nvidia chipset mobo's) products is probably why EVGA have both a high profile amongst consumers, and tend to keep those customers going forward.
    BTW: Nice clock...the benefit of full cover blocks!
  5. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    i'm adding my third this month, between valentines day and my anniversary I'm just barely making room, but ordering my third full cover block along with my card and I'm going to try to not look back.
  6. Yes, of course, I do overclock! My i5-2500k is now 4,7Ghz and my Gigabyte gtx460 1Gb oc runs now 870/3900 gpu/mem and I see so much free performance over stock speeds!! Many games ain't very playable at high or veryhigh/ultra setting with gtx460 on stock, but when you unleash the oc monster, the situation becames very different!

    And now on winter, when its freezing cold in outside (-15C / 5F), I really can push things to the limits! Cool greetings from Finland!
  7. The question was whether to OC graphics cards, and whether factory OC's were a good value - I think tech spot got it right in this article, when they said, in some situations yes, in others no. There are pros and cons for sure - it's not all pros, and it's not all cons. half of you take a hard line one way or the other - and all this does is reveal your maturity or lack thereof in the enthusiast computing space..... just experiment, learn, enjoy - and for future reference - if you have nothing of value to say - say nothing at all..... : )
  8. I have the asus nvidia geforce engtx 550 Ti

    Asus offers a modified driver and an application called "smart doctor" At first it was wonderful. The smart doctor sets it to 910 Mhz by default. I can easily slide it to 1.1 Ghz

    But nvidia is not asus and asus is not nvidia.

    Asus update hardware detection doesn't do video cards.

    The ASUS page about the geforce 550 Ti lists driver downloads that refuse to install because they are for a different video card. Video cards seem not ASUS core business. They might know how to make wonderful things, the service level is way below that of say mobo's.

    I cant imagine why it should be acceptable not to list their own hardware I just bought? I actually thought it would make things easier by buying from the same vendor.

    However you want to twist that argument, ASUS doesn't care about video the way nvidia does.

    I'm left wondering, is there even a working asus driver update for this card? Did they replace the download with the wrong one or did they list the wrong driver while there was non?

    Nivdia was quick to patch bugs in their drivers (that showed up inside high end games)

    ASUS tells me nothing about those "official" drivers.

    I can install them (obviously) but then they replace the ASUS enhanced driver that is required for over clocking.

    In stead of clicking 1 "hardware detect" and 2 "update driver" I have to read patch notes now.

    If a few more bugs are found in the future in either this or some other nvidia/asus video card people will have to read those patch notes and make intelligent decisions about their implications.

    I'm not paying premium tariff for linuxing assignments. I expect manufacturers to make minimal effort to do such things for me. Having each end user do this individually is a horrendous waste of time.

    At the moment I seem to have the nvidia driver installed with the asus enhanced driver on top. I'm making the wild assumption this is a valid configuration. This way over clocking works but I'm afraid to press the nvidia buttons.

    Some of the ingame bugs did vanish. I might have "accidentally" done the right thing here. It certainly doesn't feel that way.

    Overclocking might have benefits besides from making a lot of noise. 910 to 1100 Mhz isn't bad. I do feel like I bought a video card from a company that makes motherboards and monitors.

    At the time that sounded close enough.

    Now I'm thinking 'no cigar'.
  9. I still overclock my processor, my video card not so much as proven here will only provide a couple FPS increase and does not justify the wear on the hardware especially given the price of high end video cards.

    Anyone who says overclocking is stupid is just flat out ignorant. It can provide a pretty huge performance jump and given people like me who do this as a hobby so it's fun for us.
  10. Majority of these responses are by noobs with air coolers. My water cooled gtx 480 has 0 extra noise by overclocking and huge 30+% increase in overclocking performance!! The other thing that's not mentioned is once you start reaching the the gpu max overclocking your memory is actually a much bigger performance increase to overclock and with a water cooler its just easy as cake to keep on boosting the performance. All i know is if i get 30% more power for no extra cost when most people pay double the price for a better graphics card that gets less than that in performance boost. Basically if your not water cooling or performance cooling you shouldn't even bother with overclocking passed 10%(gpu not cpu). Without the performance cooling there is no performance overclocking.
  11. I've overclocked everything you can on a computer. If you know how to safely, and know the limits of your hardware (it's not too hard with this resource we call THE INTERNET) it is not too daunting of a task.. it just takes a bit of research and patience.

    Currently oc'd on my system:

    AMD Phenom 2 Dual-Core 555BE (Stock 3.2ghz) >>OC'd to>> AMD Phenom 2 Quad-Core B55 3.6ghz ($60)

    2x nVidia 8800GT SLI Running on a crossfire-only mobo unlocked with HyperSLI ( ) 702mhz core, 936mhz memory, 1728 mhz shader. ($50)

    ASRock 870 Extreme3 Mobo

    4 GB G-skill DDR3-1600 ram default timings 9-9-9-24-2N, oc'd to 8-9-8-24-1N ($30)

    Even my mouse is overclocked from the default 125hz to 500hz for smoother response (mx518)

    All cooled on air in a Centurion5-2 case.

    With everything included I paid very little for this system (less than the current generation of consoles cost) and have gotten absolutely rock-solid reliability (no blue screens or hard windows crashes), but that is only because I took the time to test and know the limits of this hardware, and what works for it. This can be different, even with the same exact parts.. it just takes some time and patience, once again, if you're willing to get the most out of your computer.

    Yes, there can be risk, but you minimize this by educating yourself and taking the necessary steps to do it right.
  12. @ guest with the ASUS 550tI and driver issues through ASUS:

    Stick with nvidia's drivers. They're updated more frequently and are good quality. The "Integrated driver overclocking" in your ASUS "enhanced drivers" are a sham.

    Use EVGA Precision to OC your cards with the newest generic nvidia drivers. Nvidia also has an updated that can keep their drivers up-to-date too, so that's also nothing you'll lose. (maybe a shiny button or two)
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I don't venture to this forum much so I've missed this thread. I have a Radeon 5830 and it doesn't OC worth a crap. Either that or I'm doing it wrong. Trying to OC with the drivers and I don't see any difference in Furmark scores (well very very little if any) and I get artifacts. Artifacts happen on even tiny OCs. Mine was the cheapest 5830 you could get on Newegg, and was at least $40 cheaper than any others, so I think its just a crap card. Well not crap, it performs fine, just doesn't OC.
  14. I personally think if someone wants to overclock go for it....

    I don't need to, I'm not vertically or phallically challenged, or a teenager.
  15. can we overclock console game graphics for some extra performance gains ? lol
  16. Maxw3ll

    Maxw3ll TS Rookie

    Overclock GPUs do not give big gains at the time of this article because of the manufacturing process. 40nm GPUs (6750 / 6970 / GTX560 ti) do not have much headroom for OC. Even so, the 6970 was a bad choice, should have been used the 6950 which overclocks much better.

    At this time(2014) and since 2012, overclock makes much more sense now with 28nm GPUs because they have much more overclock headroom and gains are considerably larger.
    In my case, I have an MSI 7850 Power Edition for the last 2 years and I just have not bought a new and better card yet because of the gains that I've got with the OC, that are huge!

    In this article, we saw overclocks betwen 6% and 14%... and gains of 1, 2 or 5 fps at best. My 7850 have 44,5% overclock on the GPU and 25% an the memory, this is almost 400 mhz overclock on GPU and 300 mhz in the memories chips. The real clock now are 1240 / 1500 MHz (860/1200 reference clocks ) with the original air Twin Frozer IV cooler and just +20% power tune and only +90mv (1.135v stco to 1.225v OC'ed). This represents, in general, a 35% improvement over the stock 7850s, in some cases like BF3 or Metro LL +40% boost! It's actually 10~15% faster than 7870 stock that costs +50€ (70USD)

    ... Was it worth it? Of course, I got the performance of two classes above, such as 7950/ R9 280 or the green GTX760 that cost almost twice the price!

    Now, you can pick the new GTX 970 for $350 and overclock it to match or even outperform the GTX980 (best single gpu at this time) which costs $200 more. So, yes it worth it!
  17. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,039

    Direct from the first line of the conclusion...

    "Is graphics card overclocking worth it? In short, yes it can be"

    Thanks for agreeing.
    cliffordcooley likes this.

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